Published on February 24, 2014
Dr. Michael Wohl When is Play-For-Fun Just Fun? Identifying Factors that Predict Migration from Social Networking Gaming to Internet Gambling Co-authored by Dr. Jeffrey Derevensky, Dr. Rina Gupta, and Melissa Salmon
Dr. Michael J.A. Wohl (Carleton University) Dr. Rina Gupta (McGill University) Dr. Jeffrey Derevensky (McGill University) Melissa Salmon (Carleton University)
20 18 16 2012 14.2 2015-E 14 12 10 8.3 8 6 4 2 0 Social Gaming Revenue - Worldwide (in Billions) Source: Super Data Research
Social Media Games 53% of Facebook users play social media games (81 million people play at least one game daily).
A whopping amount of social casino gamers There are currently 170 million social casino gamers, well over triple the number of online gamblers (Morgan Stanley, 2012).
Social Casino Games 53% of Facebook users play social media games (81 million people play at least one game daily)…. many of which are social casino games.
The Hunt to Make More $$$ Estimated revenues (2012) from of social casino games is U.S.$1.6 billion (SuperData Research, 2012) The Morgan Stanley Blue Paper (2012) highlighted the importance of trying to migrate social casino gamblers to become online gamblers.
At issue… As exposure to a stimulus increases, the most vulnerable are the first to be “infected” We might see increases in gambling participation near epicenters of gambling (LaPlante & Shaffer, 2007)
Is there a link? Play for fun Play for pay
From the mouth of the gamer Focus groups Objective: 1. Understanding factors that attract young adults to online gambling, including the potential role played by social media sites. 2. Avoid presuppositions influencing program of research
Method Six focus groups were conducted: 1) Play-for-fun (N=30): Three focus groups of social casino gamblers, but who do not play online for money 2) Play-for-pay (n=21): Three focus groups with regular online gamblers
Everyone who is participating in this group has indicated gambling online for money. That makes you the experts. We are turning to you to help us understand certain things related to online gambling activity. We are not looking to find out personal information on your play activity; we are looking for information in general. 1.For example, I’d like to gain a better understanding of the things that lead to online gambling in the first place. Based on what you know, what are the factors, the events, or the influences that result in a young person deciding to bet money on gambling activities online? 2.You know that social media sites have gambling-type games such as Texas-Hold’em or Sloto-mania. In your opinion, do you think experience with these games leads a person to seek online gambling sites? In other words, do these types of games serve as a form of initiation to gambling online with real money? 3.In your opinion, do you think people who gamble online have particular personality traits, or factors that are unique to them that make them more likely to gamble online? 4.There are a lot of gambling sites out there. How do you choose one over the other? 5.What are the features that render one online gambling site more appealing than another? 6.If you think about the sites that are “not good”, sites that you have navigated away from, what were the things you did not like? 7.What are the pros and cons of online gambling? 8.Once you are engaged in an online gambling session, what usually makes you decide that it is time to stop? 9.What strategies do people your age tend to use to minimize their risks? Are there common responsible gambling practices?
1.When you think about social media sites like Facebook, what is the first thought that comes to mind? What do you like best about social media? What do you like least? 2.You all must be aware of games that are offered on sites such as Facebook. I’m talking about games such as Farmville, Words with Friends, etc… What, in your opinion, are the benefits or downfalls of these games? Overall, do they contribute to your well-being? If not, in what way? Which games have the greatest appeal? 3.There are also gambling-type games such as Texas Hold’em and simulated casino play offered on these sites. Texas Hold’em is actually the most popular of all the games offered on Facebook (62 million fans on their page). What, do you think, is the appeal of these free gambling-type games? 4.Even though there is no real money exchanged, people do seem to get very caught up in the gambling-type games, often playing for longer than intended. Due to recent developments, Facebook now allows online casinos to advertise on their site. What are your opinions on this? Would you ever click on the casino ads? 5.We are interested in your impressions (based on your own experiences or those of others whom you know) about what role, if any, social networking sites play in promoting or encouraging online gambling behavior (for real money). 6.Do you think individuals who never would have considered gambling online, will gamble now that they are exposed through these social media sites? 7.Online casinos often offer “play for fun” options, allowing you to play without real money. In your opinion, what are some advantages or downfalls of these play-for-free options? 8.Thinking about the free games on social media sites as well as free-play options on online gambling sites, would people be likely to move from free games to paying games? Why or why not?
Play-for-fun Sample Primary themes – Good for the Ego (Self-enhancement) – social media is an integral and important part of daily life, and that to not be part of it is isolating (Socialization/ Social pressure to play) – Increases skill on skill-based games (Skill building) – Spending a lot of time spent playing (loss of control)
Play-for-pay Sample Primary themes: – Tendency to be more impulsive online (loss of control) – Ease of access – manipulations by online providers (including promotion/advertisement tactics)
Comparison of expression
Commonality: FACEBOOK Play-for-fun participants: spontaneous mention of a possible transfer to play-for-pay Play-for-pay participants: Spontaneous mention of a transfer happening
“I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND HOW I GOT FROM ONE PLACE TO ANOTHER PLACE, FROM PLAYING FOR FUN TO BEING IN TROUBLE.”
Clues in Motivation? Play-for-fun Social competition and/or connectedness (self-enhancement) Fun (excitement/entertainment) Training for real gambling (skill building) Play-for-pay Elevation of mood, feel better about oneself, relieve stress (coping) Enhancement of experience/win money (excitement/entertainment) Opportunities to learn (Skill building)
Sign of trouble ahead? 1) Minimal awareness that serious problems could arise from online gambling, despite their understanding of how easily one could lose control. 2) Felt immune to serious problems given they are “university educated” re: gambling 3) Online ≠ Real world
From the mouth of a Play-for-fun participant “You look at other people and they have scores that are ridiculously higher than you, and you like have to find a way to beat that score. And you waste the whole day and in the end it doesn’t matter because it’s not real. It’s in the fake world. There is regret afterwards”
From the mouth of a Play-for-pay Participant “If you transfer from Facebook to online gambling, you still have the mentality that you are in a fake world and you are used to playing with fake money and you forget that the money you are spending is real.”
LONGITUDINAL STUDY Longitudinal Study Participants: N=603 Student and community sample (via Amazon Mturk) Method Time 1: Follow-ups: People who indicate they play for fun 6 month follow-up to be discussed 12, 24 months later (to be collected)
LONGITUDINAL STUDY Longitudinal Study Measures • Where do you play? • Motivation to start playing for fun: – Entertainment, Social, Stress reduction, Skill building • Initiator of session play: – Friends posting scores • Time spent playing • Do you pay for credit?
Where do you play?
Motivation for playing free games 7.00 6.00 5.13 5.00 4.26 4.00 3.50 2.87 3.00 2.00 1.00 Entertainment Socializing Stress Reduction Skill Building
Motivations as predictor of Facebook posts leading to play? • Entertainment: p = .004 • Socializing: p < .001 • Stress Reduction: p = .01 • Skill Building: p = .31 Multiple regression
Motivations and paying for credits • Entertainment: p = .59, Exp(B) = 1.13 • Socializing: p = .07, Exp(B) = .76 • Stress Reduction: p = .25, Exp(B) = 1.20 • Skill Building: p = .006, Exp(B) = 1.44 Multiple logistic regression
The issue with paying for credits 6 4.81 5 4.83 4.20 4 2.94 3 2 2.00 2.21 Yes 1 0 Impulsivity No Craving I might play-for-pay
Motivation as a predictor of time spent • Entertainment: p = .30 • Socializing: p < .001 • Stress Reduction: p < .001 • Skill Building: p = .73 Multiple regression
LONGITUDINAL STUDY Longitudinal Study: Six-month follow-up (in process) Method of re-contact: Reminder 2 weeks prior to date. Initial email and 2 reminder emails. Participants: N=182 to-date (of the 603 that completed the full survey)
Play-for-fun to Play-for-pay
Narratives 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Eventually I just wanted to see if I could win real money I felt that I became great at the play-for-fun games Had a little extra money, wanted to try it. thought I could start making some extra cash. Payout for play for fun was very "rewarding" (likely to be replicated on play for pay) 6. I wanted more exciting experiences and wanted to make my wins more meaningful. 7. Playing for fun not stimulating enough. 8. I just wanted to try spicing things up.
Predicting transition: T1 motivation • Entertainment: p = .16, Exp(B) = .65 • Socializing: p = .56, Exp(B) = 1.12 • Stress Reduction: p = .22, Exp(B) = 1.28 • Skill Building: p = .98, Exp(B) = 1.00 Multiple logistic regression
Predicting transition: T1 posting Facebook posts: p = .17, Exp(B) = 1.17
Predicting transition: Paying for Credits at T1 Paying for free credits at T1: p = .004, Exp(B) = 6.13
Predicting transition: T1 time spent playing Time spent playing: p = .007, Exp(B) = 1.74
Exposure Study Participants: N=28 (to-date) young adults who don’t gamble online. Procedure Step 1: Played Candy Crush or Party Casino Slots Step 2: Given $10 for participating Step 3: Second Study Paradigm: Offered opportunity to use $10 is an unrelated gambling study.
Expressed Desire to Gamble
Possible Explanation 1. Casino Games as Prophylactic?/ Social Games as Catalyst? “Playing slots on Facebook gives me the fix I need” 2. Game specific transfer? Slot Slots Poker Poker “I don’t like slots, are there other games I can play?”
Limitations 1. The need to assess the possible effect of preferred game. 2. The need to assess willingness to buy credits. 3. Possible demand effects
In sum People seem to recognize that they are being targeted online. They also seem to Play-for-Fun to socialize and reduce stress THE IMPACT OF CREDITS THE IMPACT OF TIME SPENT! THE IMPACT OF EXPOSURE!
Conclusion Governments and operators have yet to articulate clear rules and procedures for social casin0 games. One reason for this lack of urgency is the paucity of knowledge regarding the impact of social gaming on the user. At issues: accessibility and availability The need: To keep an eye on convergence of gambling and social media contributing to the normalization of gambling online.
DATA COLLECTION CONTINUING Play for fun Play for pay
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